Spicy Pumpkin Pie

In the past, I’ve made two different pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving: the fail-safe recipe that comes on the back of the Libby’s pumpkin can and the crowd-pleasing candied pecan pumpkin pie recipe I’ve shared on the blog before. For both of these recipes, I’ve always used canned pumpkin, and doing so has always produced excellent results. I had heard that making your own pumpkin puree could have uneven results and it just didn’t seem worth the bother, especially since I have tasted too many pies made with homemade puree that were not good at all. (Side note: these terrible pies were always made by a special breed of foodie whose righteous fervor for whole,organic, locally sourced ingredients is inversely proportional to their ability to cook. Am I the only one who has encountered this kind of person before?)

I was talking to someone once about making pie for Thanksgiving and when I said that I used canned pumpkin, this person was overcome with a look that was some mix of betrayal and indignation that was so strong that I was convinced that they must think that I used a canned pumpkin pie filling. But no—they just couldn’t fathom that, as someone passionate about baking, I would deign to use canned pumpkin. Oy.

Yes, the pie is reading Mother Jones. Ignore the chewed up part around the edge, which was due to a dumb error on the part of the baker.

Ignore the chewed up part around the edge, which was due to the clumsy hands of the baker.

Last year was the first time I experimented with making a pie with fresh pumpkin. We bought a sugar pumpkin at the beginning of fall because our godson was obsessed with pumpkins. Basically, we bought a pumpkin just so we could watch him carry his tiny pumpkin around the apartment saying “da puh-kin” over and over. After a few weeks, Aidan suggested that we might actually use the pumpkin for something, so I roasted and pureed it following the instructions at Oh She Glows and then baked it into a pie using a Cooks Illustrated recipe that calls for cooking the pumpkin mixture down before baking the pie. The result turned out to be easily the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever made. At first, I just assumed that this was because I had used a different, better recipe. But when Thanksgiving rolled around, I made the same recipe with canned pumpkin and while it was really good, it lacked a certain something that kept it from being the kind of out-of-this-world pie that the first one was. I made this recipe again this year with fresh pumpkin and even though I was a teaspoon short on ground ginger, the pie was excellent.

Fresh Pumpkin Puree via sweetalchemy.wordpress.com

And so, since then, my feelings about the canned vs. fresh pumpkin debate have been complicated. Fresh pumpkin can be a wonderful thing, but it’s not the only way to go and it’s not without it’s complications. Canned pumpkin make a really good pie. And what’s more, it’s reliable and does not involve the extra prep work and planning that making your own puree involves. Making your own puree isn’t difficult, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t kind of a PITA, especially if you’re in a high-stakes baking situation or juggling the preparation of lots of different dishes (hello, Thanksgiving).

But making a good puree depends on getting good pumpkins. You need the little ones that are called sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins. One of the aforementioned terrible pies was made by one of the aforementioned cooking-inept foodies who could recite the many virtues of spelt flour but did not understand that different varieties of pumpkins have different uses. Getting good pumpkins might also involve buying them earlier in the season, and possibly even processing them and freezing the puree ahead of time, to make sure that you aren’t left choosing from a selection of picked-over, dried-out, late-season pumpkins. (I’ll be honest—I bought a can of back-up pumpkin in case the pumpkin we bought this year turned out to be crappy.)

And finally, the biggest issue with fresh puree is that it tends to be more watery than canned puree, and the extra liquid will throw the proportions of your pie filling out of whack. After I pureed my pumpkin, I let it sit in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl for 30 minutes. At the end, I had roughly 2.5 cups of puree and nearly a cup of liquid that had drained away. Draining the pumpkin is often listed as an “optional, but recommended” step to making fresh puree. Looking at that cup of liquid, I’m not sure how optional it is if you want good results.

drained pumpkin puree liquid

In addition to straining the puree to get rid of any excess liquid, cooking the pumpkin down a bit also helps improve the final texture of your pie. That’s one of many reasons why I really love this Cooks Illustrated recipe. While cooking the filling before baking involves some extra steps and dirties a pan, the result is a wonderfully smooth, rich texture.  And while I’m kind of moony-eyed about how this pie turns out with fresh pumpkin, this recipe also works wonderfully with canned pumpkin. This pie has great flavor. If you compare the ingredients list to other pumpkin pie recipes, you might expect the amount of spice in this pie recipe to be overwhelming. It’s definitely well-spiced but it’s not too much—the spices just make a pumpkin pie that tastes truly decadent and rich. The original recipe uses a traditional pie crust, but I like to make pumpkin pie in a graham cracker crust. There are lots of benefits to a graham cracker crust: 1) it’s a delicious flavor compliment to the pie filling, 2) it’s quicker and less fussy than making a traditional crust, and 3) you can invite your favorite toddler over to share the leftover crackers and watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and, in under an hour, you will have made a best friend for life.

I hope you had an excellent Thanksgiving with plenty of good pie!

Spicy Pumpkin Pie via sweetalchemy.wordpress.com

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Spicy Pumpkin Pie (crust adapted from Martha Stewart, filling adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

Recipe notes: The recipe calls for using a food processor to mix the filling. Each time I’ve made this recipe, I’ve used my food processor with good results. If you don’t have a food processor, you could definitely use a blender, but I don’t see why you couldn’t also use an electric mixer. It might result in a slightly different texture, but I’d be surprised if it were a significant difference. The key thing would be to make sure that you have the mixer going as you start to pour the pumpkin mixture into the eggs so that you don’t scramble your eggs. This is easy enough if you have a stand mixer. If you only have a hand-held mixer, you probably want to enlist a kitchen helper.

In my experience, this recipe makes more filling than will actually fill a regular 9” pie plate. Last Thanksgiving, I increased the graham cracker crust recipe by 50% and made the pie in a spring form pan instead (as if I were making a cheesecake).  This is a good route to go if you like a higher filling-to-crust ratio but it doesn’t look very traditional. You could also pick up a package of pre-made miniature graham cracker pie shells and fill them with your left overs. You could keep your mini-pies as a gift to yourself, but giving a kid their own personal mini pie is another way to make a fast friend. Of course, you would need to adjust the baking times accordingly for either of these options.

For the crust:

  • 12 graham crackers (or 1.5 c of graham cracker crumbs)
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • A pinch of salt (skip this if you use salted butter)

For the filling:

  • 2 c of fresh pumpkin puree or 1 15 oz can of plain pumpkin
  • 1 c dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 c heavy cream
  • 2/3 c milk
  • 4 large eggs
  1. To make the crust, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor until you have fine crumbs. Melt the butter and drizzle over the crumbs. Add in the sugar and salt, if using. Pulse the ingredients together until combined. Dump the mixture into a 9” pie plate and press firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes.
  2. When the crust is done baking, turn the oven up to 400 degrees F.
  3. To make the filling, pulse the pumpkin, dark brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt together in a food processor for about a minute. Pour the pumpkin mixture into a medium sauce pan and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once the mixture starts sputtering, continue to cook for another five minutes, stirring constantly to keep the mixture from burning. The pumpkin mixture will be thick and shiny.
  4. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream and milk. I do this in batches, adding half the cream, whisking to combine, adding the rest of the cream, whisking, and then repeating the process with the milk. Return the pumpkin mix to and heat it through, removing it from the heat as soon as it begins to simmer.
  5. Pulse the eggs in the food processor to combine the whites and yolks. With the processor running, slowly pour about half of the pumpkin mixture into the eggs. (I transferred half of the pumpkin to a glass measuring cup for this step for more controlled pouring.) Stop the food processor and add the rest of the pumpkin mixture to the egg mixture. Pulse the filling until everything is mixed well.
  6. Carefully pour the filling into your prepared crust, being careful not to overfill the crust. The pie will settle a bit while baking. After the pie has been in the oven for about 5 minutes, you can carefully ladle some of the excess filling into the pie.
  7. Bake the pie at 400 degrees F for about 25 minutes, until the filling is puffy and appears dry. The filling should still wiggle at the center if you gently shake the pie. Allow the pie to cool on a wire rack.

Peanut Butter Pie

It took me a year to get around to posting about the Lemon Angel Food Cake that I made Aidan for his last birthday. This year, I’m really upping my game and posting about his birthday treat from this year a mere 10 days after the fact. I am on the ball.

This year, Aidan requested a peanut butter pie, which is significantly easier to make than last year’s angel food cake. Peanut butter pie is the kind of thing that is very accessible even for the non-baker. If you use a pre-made crust, then the only thing you need to do is mix together the ingredients for the filling and let the pie set—no baking required at all. The only important thing to remember when it comes to peanut butter pie is that you can’t use natural peanut butter. You have to use the super creamy, sweetened stuff that you’d spread on super soft white bread. We’re making dessert here.

Peanut Butter Pie via sweetalchemy.wordpress.com

The trickiest thing about making this particular recipe is that you make your own whipped cream to fold into the filling at the very end (just to make it a bit lighter in texture). But making whipped cream isn’t difficult—it just takes some time. You can make your life a little easier by chilling your bowl and beaters ahead of time and by making sure that your cream is nice and cold. Really, I highly recommend making your own whipped cream whenever you can, not because I am a whipped cream snob, but because it is a fantastic party trick. Based on my own carefully collected scientific data, pulling out homemade whipped cream to top whatever pie/cake/dessert-ish thing you’ve made for your friends will increase positive reactions and praise by a minimum of 83%. People will act like you are Julia Child come back to bless the people with the gift of good food. And all the while you (and your more whipped-cream savvy friends) will know that you just threw that shit in the mixer and let it go for a few minutes while you sipped a cup of coffee.

Peanut Butter Pie via sweetalchemy.wordpress.com

For the filling, I used a recipe from the most recent issue of Food Network Magazine because it was close by and seemed very similar to recipes I’ve used in the past. The original recipe calls for a graham cracker crust and for melting chocolate chips and spreading the melted chocolate on the bottom of the pie crust. At Aidan’s request, I substituted an Oreo crust and then decided to spread some fudge sauce on the bottom of the crust. Before serving the pie, I topped it with some chopped cocktail peanuts and drizzled some more fudge sauce over the top. The end result was excellent and very rich—a great way to celebrate the birth of my favorite person.

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Peanut Butter Pie (adapted from Nov. 2013 issue of Food Network Magazine)

  • 24 Oreos
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 jar of fudge sauce (not chocolate syrup)
  • 1/4 c heavy cream
  • 1 c creamy peanut butter (not natural peanut butter)
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 c whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c confectioners’ sugar
  • Optional: Chopped cocktail peanuts for topping

Directions:

  1. To make the crust, preheat oven to 350F. Place Oreos in food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs and the cream filling has completely disappeared into the cookie crumbs. Melt the butter and drizzle over the cookie crumbs. Mix until the crumbs are evenly coated with butter. Dump the crumb mixture into a pie plate and use your fingers or the back of a spoon to evenly press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Bake  for 6-7 minutes. Allow pie crust to cool on a wire rack.
  2. Warm the fudge sauce up enough so that it has a spreadable consistency. Spread a thin layer of fudge sauce on the bottom of pie crust. Allow the pie crust to continue to cool as you make the filling.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. (This will be easier if the cream is very cold and the bowl and beaters are chilled ahead of time.) Place whipped cream in the refrigerator until you are ready to add it to the filling.
  4. Beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, milk, and vanilla together until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar 1/4 c at a time and mix on low until incorporated after every addition.
  5. Fold half of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture until incorporated. Repeat with the second half of the whipped cream. Spoon the filling into the cooled pie crust, smooth the top of the pie, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set (at least 3 hours). Optional: Top pie with chopped peanuts and drizzle additional fudge sauce over the top of the pie before serving.

Cherry Raspberry Pie

It was 92° today, which set a new record high for the date in our area. Gross. I am not a huge fan of summer and this kind of heat is precisely why. The heat itself is bad enough, but living in a second-story apartment with sky lights in every room with no AC is disgusting and it makes me hateful. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that this isn’t an indication of how the rest of the season is going to play out. Still, now is probably as good a time as any to start digging up recipes that don’t involve the oven. I think this may be a good summer to invest in a set of popsicle molds so I can make these Strawberry Lemonade Popsicles. Yum. And cold.

Anyway. We spent Memorial Day with friends, grilling out but eating inside to enjoy the air conditioning. I decided to make a pie, because pie seems like the kind of thing you’re supposed to eat on summer holidays. My original plan was to make a strawberry rhubarb pie, but when I went to the store, they were out of rhubarb. They were also out of Corona. It was a trip of frustrations. But never mind, I reevaluated my plans, grabbed a bag of sweet cherries and a pint of raspberries and decided to throw them together. The decision to throw in the raspberries was born mostly out of the fact that a single bag of cherries wouldn’t have been enough to fill a pie, and a pint of raspberries were significantly cheaper than a second bag of cherries. I had misgivings when I got home. I was worried that the fruit wasn’t flavorful enough, that I should have kept it simple and only stuck with one kind of fruit, and finally that it was all going to be a soupy mess.

Cherry Raspberry Pie

Luckily, none of my fears came to pass. You can see that part of the crust collapsed while baking, but beyond that the pie was great. For the first time in a long time, I felt like my crust was rockin’ in flavor and texture. I used the same all-butter crust recipe I’ve been using since I started this blog, but this time I added the butter in one stick at a time, which made it easier to cut into the flour and seemed to help in bringing the dough together. (I picked this trick up from my King Arthur Flour cookbook.) For the filling, I used this Sweet Cherry Pie recipe–substituting, of course, part of the cherries for about two cups of raspberries. The raspberries gave the filling a nice tartness that didn’t overwhelm the cherries, but kept the filling from being overly sweet. I’ve been wary of the idea of sour cherry pie, having some unpleasant memories of sour cherries from my childhood, but now I think I need to try it out. Also, this is the first time that I’ve made a lattice top pie (way easier than I expected) and used an egg wash on the pie lid (totally sold–the result is beautiful). We enjoyed the pie with some homemade whipped cream. It was a good day.

Basically, I wish that everything I tried my hand at turned out as well as this pie. Also, I wish we had central air. Oh well.

Cherry Raspberry Pie (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Note: The above link is for the original pie filling recipe. For the crust, I also used Deb’s all butter pie crust recipe, which can be found here along with a great set of step-by-step pictorial instructions. If you’re new to making pie crust, definitely check out her post. It’s been a huge help to me, although you might want to try cutting the butter into the flour one stick at a time. I don’t have a cherry pitter, so I just pitted the cherries with my hands. But I followed the advice offered in one of Deb’s comments and pitted the cherries inside of a gallon-size ziploc bag. It helped contain the mess in a big, big way.

1 double pie crust

For Filling:

  • 2 c pitted sweet cherries
  • 2 c raspberries
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 4 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tbsp cold unsalted butter cut into small bits
  • 1 egg beaten with 2 tsp cold water for egg wash, optional
  1. Combine the fruit, sugar, corn starch, salt, lemon juice and almond extract in a large bowl. Stir until well combined.
  2. Roll out the dough for the bottom crust, creating a 13″ round. Line your pie plate with the rolled out crust, and trim the sides to leave a half inch overhang.
  3. Use a spoon to spread the fruit mixture into the pie shell, leaving behind most of the liquid that has developed at the bottom of the bowl. Dot the filling with the bits of cold butter.
  4. Roll out the pie lid and lay it over the pie plate (or cut strips from the dough round and create a lattice top). Trim the sides of the dough and use your fingers or a fork to seal and crimp the edges. Cut slits (for steam vents) in the pie lid and brush the pie lid with the egg wash, if using.
  5. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes. Allow pie to cool completely on a wire rack.

My Thanksgiving Contribution

For the second year in a row, two of our friends are hosting a potluck-style Thanksgiving celebration for we grad students in our program who are staying in town for break. Last year, I brought four pies as my contribution. And because I am full of surprises and excitement, I decided to do a repeat performance this year. My first step was to whip up two double pie crusts–enough for four single crust pies. As always, I used the all-butter pie crust found on Smitten Kitchen. The recipe is great, easy to throw together, and I’ve had fantastic results with it in the past. But lately, my crusts have been turning out not great. There is definitely some user-error occurring. Probably not the kind of thing that other people necessarily notice, but enough to hurt my soul. All of my pies are still uncut, but I’m interested to see how the crusts turn out this time. I think one of my winter break projects may be figuring out what’s been going wrong and trying to perfect my crust-making skills.

Anyway, first up was a crumb-topped apple pie.

apple pie

Then a pecan pie, which I made for the first time last Thanksgiving and for the second time yesterday.

pecan pie

And because pumpkin pie is traditional, I figure that I need to make at least two for a group of around 12-15 people. So I’ve got your standard, no-fuss pumpkin pie from the back of the Libby’s can . . .

pumpkin pie

. . . and for a little variety, a candied pecan-topped pumpkin pie.

candied pecan pumpkin pie

It looks a little homely, but this was a big hit last year and Aidan has already decided that this will be his one piece of Thanksgiving pie. Now all that’s left to do is (literally) whip up some whipped cream. I’m looking forward to some good food, definitely looking forward to some good beer (to take the edge off my end-of-the-semester anxieties), and already scheming ways to get out of the touch football game I hear is planned for this afternoon. Happy Thanksgiving!

Apple Crumb Pie (adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens 75th Anniversary Ed. Cookbook)

  • Single pie crust
  • 6-7 cups of apples, peeled and sliced (I used about 6 Ginger Gold apples)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter
  1. Line pie plate with single pie crust and crimp edges.
  2. Toss sliced apples together with sugar, 3 tbsp flour, cinnamon and nutmeg until coated. Spread apple mixture evenly in pie shell.
  3. Mix 1/2 cup flour and brown sugar together. Use a pastry blender to cut in butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture on top of the apples.
  4. Cover edges of the pie with tin foil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake 20 minutes more until bubbly.

Pecan Pie (adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens 75th Anniversary Ed. Cookbook)

  • 1 single pie crust
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 1 c corn syrup
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1/3 butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c shelled pecans
  1. Line pie plate with single pie crust and crimp edges.
  2. Stir together eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter, and vanilla until well-combined. Stir in pecans. Spread pecan mixture into pie shell.
  3. Cover edges of the pie with tin foil. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and then bake for 20-25 minutes longer until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Pumpkin Pie (an unintentional mash up of the Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe and the pumpkin pie recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)

  • 1 single pie crust
  • 1 15 oz can of pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 12 oz can of evaporated milk
  1. Line pie plate with single crust and crimp edges.
  2. Whisk together pumpkin and eggs until well-combined. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Slowly add evaporated milk to pumpkin mixture. Pour pumpkin mixture into pie shell.
  3. Cover edges of pie with tin foil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 25 minutes more until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Candied Pecan Pumpkin Pie (adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens 75th Anniversary Ed. Cookbook)

  • 1 single pie crust.
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 15 oz can of pumpkin
  • 1/4 c milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  1. Line pie plate with single pie crust and crimp edges.
  2. Stir together eggs, pumpkin, and milk until well-combined. Stir in sugar, flour, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Pour pumpkin mixture into pie shell.
  3. Cover edges of pie with tin foil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil. Stir together brown sugar, pecans, and butter. Sprinkle mixture over top of pie. Bake for 20-25 minutes more until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Blueberry Peach Plan B

I am officially back in school. Yesterday, I finished my first day of classes which, this semester, includes taking two seminars and teaching two sections of first year writing. I think both are off to a pretty good start. I’m also trying to settle into a semester schedule that leaves enough time in between reading and grading for things I really like but have been neglecting lately like cooking and baking and knitting and this blog. One step at a time . . .

I was feeling a little sad that summer was ending until we got hit this week with temps in the 90s and Aidan and I found ourselves hiding out in our air-conditioned bedroom like it was a fall out shelter in a nuclear crisis. Good riddance. I didn’t like that heat in July, and I like it even less now that I have to walk to campus in the morning and teach in sweaty clothes. (Which, by the way, is not a look that impresses the students.) Luckily, a cold front moved in over night and now we’re sitting pretty in the mid-60s with some storms coming our way for the rest of the weekend. And while its supposed to get sunny and warm again during the week, it’s not supposed to climb anywhere near the sweltering temps we had this week. I have my fingers crossed that this was the last burst of heat we’ll get this year, because I have bread and mac ‘n cheese and soup on the brain, and this weather has really been interfering with my desires.

Anyway, before the semester officially started, I spent two weeks in various orientations and beginning-of-the-school-year events, which included at one point a department potluck. I’m apparently becoming a little bit of a church lady (without so much of the church part) because potlucks make me feel a little competitive, and after thinking a lot about it I decided to make a blueberry peach slab pie. It seemed appropriate since, as Aidan pointed out, the orange and blue of the fruit mirrored SU’s school colors. Lord knows I’ve got school spirit in spades. The idea of the slab pie is pretty basic–it’s just a pie made on a baking sheet instead of a pie pan so that it can be cut into squares and serve more people, making it potluck perfect. Based on some tips I found online, I went ahead and made 1 1/5 of a regular pie crust recipe and the same amount of filling I would make for a regular pie. This is what I learned:

  1. That trying to roll pie dough into a long rectangle sounds a lot easier than it actually is in practice.
  2. That 150% of a standard pie dough recipe is, in fact, no where close to enough dough to make a slab pie in 15×9 baking sheet. Doubling the recipe would have been better.
  3. Admitting defeat at 1:00a when you’re filling is already made and you know you will have no other time to bake anything before the potluck is not an option.
  4. If you throw what pie crust you do have down onto the baking sheet, throw the filling in the middle, make a half-hearted attempt to do something with the edges, and call it a rustic tart, people will not know your dessert was really a screw up. (Unless you tell them, which I did.)
  5. Brushing the edges of your crust with milk during the last ten minutes of baking really does produce a beautifully browned crust.
  6. Peach and blueberry makes for a great filling combination.
  7. Basic comfort foods really make people happy.

Rustic Tart

I forgot to take a picture of it until we were headed out the door, so this is the only shot of the “rustic tart” we got. But its a good thing we stopped to snap a picture when we did because all we brought home was an empty plate. Which is to say that it was well received, even though it was ugly. I suppose the fact that it tasted good is what really matters. Oh, and the fact that I walked away from the potluck with my pride intact.

Blueberry Peach Plan-B “Rustic Tart”

This ended up being about a 12×8 oval–maybe even a bit bigger. A recipe for a double pie crust would be sufficient for replicating what I made here, since I ended up throwing away all of the extra dough I had made. I’ve been using this all-butter pie crust recipe from Smitten Kitchen, and have  been really pleased with the results. When I was making this, I transferred the dough directly to the pan by gently folding it over itself, but you might consider rolling the dough out on parchment paper so that it’s easier to transfer on and off the pan.

For the filling:

  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 2 tbsp quick cooking tapioca
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 5 cups of sliced peaches
  • 1 pint of blueberries

In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, tapioca, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the fruit, stir together until the fruit is coated and then let the mixture stand for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Roll the pie crust out into a large oval about 2″ wider than you want the final tart to be. Transfer to the baking sheet. Pour the filling onto the crust and spread evenly, leaving two inches of crust around the edges without any filling on it. Fold the edge of the crust over and onto itself in some kind of semi-decorative fashion. (This is where calling it “rustic” comes in handy. It makes the ugly seem intentional.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Lightly brush the crust with milk and then return to the oven for another ten minutes. Serve to people who will be impressed by the fact that you didn’t buy a pre-made pie crust.